Polish Bishops Outline How to Leave Church

BIALYSTOK, Poland, OCT. 17, 2008 (Zenit.org).- If a Catholic in Poland wants to leave the Church, the country’s bishops won’t be standing in the in the way.

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Poland’s episcopal conference has released a 22-point document to guide Catholics who want to renounce their baptism and leave the Church, reports Ecumenical News International.

The bishops affirmed that leaving the Church is an offense against God, and that it is «pained by every sin» of separation: «Persons in peril of committing such a deed should be instructed and encouraged in love to abandon their intention of leaving the church.»

«But their natural right to decide their path in life should also be upheld,» the bishops added.

According to the guidelines, those wishing to leave the Church should submit a written statement to their parish priest, in the presence of two witnesses. The act bars the individual from the sacraments, including a Christian burial.

The bishops suggest time be given to reconsider, and underline that an individual’s name will not be removed from parish records.

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